A Lagos lawyer, Mr Femi Falana (SAN) on Thursday threatened to sue the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) if it fails to take appropriate actions against the Nigerian Navy (NN) for alleged illegal detention of 67 persons.
The popular lawyer stated this in a follow-up letter he addressed to the Executive Secretary of NHRC.
He gave the commission seven days to have the Navy release or prosecute those allegedly being detained in naval, other military facilities, or face a writ of mandamus before a Federal High Court.
Falana recalled his earlier letter, dated May 19, where he requested for the release of 40 Nigerians allegedly being detained by the Navy without trial.
Aside the 40, Falana said yesterday that 57 other persons had been held in crowded cells at the Nigerian Naval Ship (NNS) Beecroft in Apapa, Lagos, and 10 others inside a vessel at the Marina Jetty, Lagos, between three and 18 months without a remand order.
The lawyer gave the names of the 57 NNS Beecroft detainees as: Michael Ovie, Simon Onyisike Mike, Umoren Daniel, James Archibong, Graham Brown, Ifeanyi Osadinizu, Matthew Epiagolo, Taiwo Ayodele, Sunday Ojo, Austin Omonisa, Timothy Ajayi, Adeleke Adewale, Onoja Reuben, Pius Paul, Peter Pulle, Ogunmoyero Oluwaseun, Innocent Sunday, Lejoro Friday, Hamza Yakubu, Segun Yusuf, Adebayo Mayoma, Godswill Umoh, Edu Fidelis, Richard David and Daniel Harrison.
Others are: Asaiki Okeoghene, Omogoye Bolaji, Victor Uchendu, Oloyede Ademola, Emomotimi Watchman, Ganabel Sixtus, Olajide Enigbewo, Kehinde Labinjo, Godswill Ebbah, Sikiru Adekoya (SK MARINE), Patrick Ogerugba, Emmanuel Oputa, Kingsley Terry, Melvin Jack, Paul Obi, Matthew Pius, Grace Inyang, Okechukwu Iwuoha, Godwin Etiaka, Lukman Salami, Owei Ukuto, Collins Joel, Victor Jeremiah, Emmanuel Eze, Miebaka Iyalla, Firstman Job, Francis Onyema, Austin Abarowei, Nelson Sokaribo, Victor Okechukwu and Olanrewaju Peter.
The lawyer also identified those allegedly being held in a vessel at Marina as: Oloyede Ademola, Omogoye Bolaji, Umoh Emmanuel, Richard Essien, Edu Fidelis, Umoren Harrison, Simeon Mike, Udom Jerome, Archibong Aniete James and Okeoghene Asaiki Jude.
According to Falana, the commission has not deemed it fit to sanction the Navy, in exercise of its powers under the National Human Rights Commission (Amendment) Act, 2010, following its failure to respond to his petition on the alleged illegal detention of 40 Nigerians.
“However, the Nigerian Navy has publicly denied the detention of any person in any of its cells. Despite such official denial, some of the detainees have since been released or transferred to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which has filed charges against them at the Federal High Court.
Meanwhile, the illegal detention of several Nigerians and foreigners by the authorities of the Nigerian Navy has exposed Nigeria to ridicule before the comity of civilised nations.
“As you are no doubt aware, the Swiss Government has filed a suit against the Federal Government of Nigeria in Zurich over the detention of a vessel and its crew members of four Ukranians by the Nigerian Navy for the past 18 months.
“It may interest the commission to know that the authorities of the Nigerian Navy have continued to detain Navy Captain Dada Labinjo in an underground cell in the detention facility of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) at Abuja since September 12, 2018, in contravention of the Anti-Torture Act, 2017, which has prohibited the detention of any person in any underground cell in Nigeria.